Virgin Islands National Park: East End

Image: Sean M. Santos

Like the day before, the clouds were localized, and by the time we crested the ridge hiking away from Brown Bay, it was sunny again. We were starving, and instead of driving back to Concordia, we decided to go to Vie’s Snack Shack on the sparsely populated East End of St. John (see map). As it was, at Brown Bay’s parking area, we were partway out onto the mountainous, narrow peninsula that formed the East End.

We were still inside the Park boundaries. As we passed a southerly-facing shore lined with mangroves, already I was thinking about a return trip to the island. We were now just about half way through our time at Virgin Islands National Park, and there was much still to see and do.

The road out here was narrower and in worse repair than it was on other parts of the island. I had by now gotten the hang of the Jeep, throwing it into low-gear 4-wheel drive when I needed to, gunning it when it was called for. So the roller-coaster ride was becoming less harrowing and actually pretty fun.

Image: Sean M. Santos
Image: Sean M. Santos

There was a scenic overlook at one of the narrowest points, where both sides of the road offered sweeping views. We stopped to take them in.

Looking north toward Tortola. Image: Adam Geffen
Image: Sean M. Santos
Looking south into the Caribbean. Image: Sean M. Santos

Soon we’d exited the park and arrived in the small community of East End. The parking area for Vie’s was packed, but there were only a handful of people sitting at the tables under a huge tree.


We stepped up to the counter hoping for conch fritters and johnnycakes, but sadly it had been a very busy morning, and now at nearly 3pm, they were out of everything save some desserts. We were disappointed, but we ordered some slices of homemade tarts: guava and pineapple. We ate them at a picnic table in front of the shack.

Image: Adam Geffen

Across the street from Vie’s was the Bush Cat Snack Shack. We saw small shelters on raised legs like this one all over the populated parts of the island. Food for the cats was inside, as well as a secure place to hide or get out of the sun.


On the way back to Concordia, we stopped at Love City Market, which we’d heard had everything, to get some groceries. They did have everything. You can even see it on their sign. Not as nice, nor as pricey, as Starfish Market in Cruz Bay, still they had what we needed.

Image: Adam Geffen
Feral goats crossing the road in Coral Bay. Image: Sean M. Santos
Image: Sean M. Santos

Back at Concordia, we made sandwiches in our eco-tent and relaxed. We also discussed the plan for the following day, Sunday. We’d only been able to reserve an eco-tent for four of our six nights. The following morning, we’d have to tidy up, pack, and move our things to a “full kitchen loft,” also part of Concordia, for the final two nights. We also wanted to do our big hike into Reef Bay to see the petroglyphs. Bethany knew her ankle wasn’t up to it, so she’d be staying back. Sean checked with registration, and they said we could leave our things at the desk between check-out (11am) and check-in (3pm). Although we’d have preferred not to do the big hike in the middle of the day, it became apparent that it would be best to hike during the “homeless” time. Bethany said she’d just work by the pool again.

We packed some, and those of us who were hiking readied our day packs. Then we relaxed until it was time to go to dinner.


We drove down the road to Miss Lucy’s for dinner. It’s the place we’d been too late for on our first night. This time we had a reservation. The restaurant was right on the water and had live music. Despite the atmosphere, and a very entertaining bush kitten, it really didn’t compare with Cafe Concordia.

Then it was home again, and we were asleep by 9:30.

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